We’ve come to expect our big and small screen thrillers to be accompanied by explosions, gunfire and other accoutrements of big-bang action. We grow impatient when the narrative moves forward at a snail’s pace and we’re required to think along with our hero as he (or she) unravels the big mystery or identify the bad guys. We’ve been spoiled by 24, where every hour of Jack Bauer’s day is filled with treachery, torture, pursuit and “the chase.”
The slow reveal has to peppered with hot action sequences adequate to hold our collective attention, and that's unfortunate. It's also (I think) at the root of the Twitterings I've heard from impatient viewers, who can't appreciate the slow art of this genre as expressed in the new AMC series Rubicon. I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve been following the Twitter buzz for a couple of weeks and what pops out at me are the complaints that the series just moves too slow. Just for the record, I vehemently disagree.
My biggest problem with Rubicon is that I don’t want to wait a week to find out what happens next. If Rubicon were a novel, I could forge ahead late into the night and long past my bedtime to find out what’s up with Will, his team and the people they work for. I could find out whether Will’s boss at the American Policy Institute (an intelligence think tank) Kale Ingram, and the director of API (American Policy Institute) Spangler are forces for good or evil. But it's not a novel and I can't read the last chapter until we get there.
The provocative tagline for Rubicon is "Not every conspiracy is a theory," which heavily suggests the direction of the plot. If you haven’t yet watched the series, and you like conspiracy thrillers, excellent writing and don’t mind going for a longer ride, without a lot of explosions and yelling, I recommend that you watch the first episode embedded below and then catch up with the series with the kindly provided “story thus far” video.
And, because it’s sometimes hard to tell the players, as they say, without a scorecard, I have provided for your use and information some intel on the main players in the story:
Will Travers (James Badge Dale, The Pacific): The hero of our story, he is a brilliant analyst and an expert at pattern recognition. Will lost his wife and young child on 9/11; he had planned on meeting them for an outing at the World Trade Center, but was late. He is haunted the loss and his own survival. At the start of the series, his father-in-law heads the analysis team for which Will works at API, but by episode two, Will is in charge.